The management of upper-extremity burn contractures is a major challenge for plastic surgeons. After approval by the Food and Drug Administration, artificial skin (Integra) has been available in Taiwan since 1997. From January of 1997 to July of 1999, the authors applied artificial skin to 13 severely burned patients for the reconstruction of their upper extremities, resulting in an increased range of motion in the upper-extremity joints and improved skin quality. An additional benefit was the rapid reepithelialization of the donor sites. There were no complications of infection throughout the therapeutic course, and the overall results were satisfactory. During the 2-year study, scar condition was monitored between 8 and 24 months, and a good appearance and pliable skin were obtained according to the Vancouver Scar Scale. According to this evaluation of Oriental skin turgor, normal pigmentation was restored about 6 months after the resurfacing procedure. For patients with severe burns in whom there is insufficient available skin for a full-thickness skin graft or another appropriate flap for scar revision, Integra is an alternative. The two major concerns in dealing with artificial skin are (1) a 10- to 14-day waiting period for maturation of the neo-dermis, necessitating a two-stage operation, and (2) prevention of infection with antibiotics and meticulous wound care.
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